DALLAS, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- The Texas Senate has approved a law requiring women in the state to be offered a fetal sonogram and hear a fetal heartbeat before having an abortion.
Abortion opponents hailed the legislation, saying it is entitling women to more information, while others denounced it as government intrusion into a difficult, personal decision that would mandate certain tests, information and procedures, The Dallas Morning News reported Thursday.
The Texas Medical Association and the State Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have challenged the measure as an intrusion into the physician-patient relationship.
The measure, which has strong support from Gov. Rick Perry and state House Republican leaders and is likely to become law, passed the Senate on a 21-10 vote after often-emotional debate.
The bill's author, Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, said the measure has been leavened with "wisdom, counsel and the hand of God."
Under the law, women must be given the opportunity to see a sonogram that must be taken within 2 hours of the abortion procedure and hear a fetal heartbeat, if detectable.
While she can decline those options, doctors will still be required to describe what they see in the sonogram, including development of the body and organs, the Morning News reported.